Golf Course Review [Download
Course Review: FireRock GC, by
London, Ont. waited a decade for a
second upscale public club. Forest City
National GC opened in 1993 to numerous
accolades. Opened in mid-July, FireRock
GC, a pitching wedge west of London in
Komoka, is already drawing rave reviews
for its delivery of beauty and brawn.
Thomas McBroom, with a mulligan from
Mother Nature, has designed a
masterpiece over 240 acres where a
sand-and-gravel operation once stood.
Father and son team Nick and Walter
Spivak, who also own the nearby Oaks
G&CC, pumped $10 million into this
restoration project. The result: McBroom’s
art piece which locals rank in the same
category as destinations like Rocky
Crest and Angus Glen.
11,000-sq.-ft. clubhouse, to provide a
spectacular view of the Oxbow River
Valley, will open in 2005. Its practice
areas didn’t open until August, and
the immaturity of the greens saw
inconsistent speed throughout the
course. No worries: if McBroom builds
it, they will come. Oaks members have
playing privileges, but there has been
no short supply of visitors forking out
$75 for the opportunity to test drive
this seductive layout.
from 5,672 to 7,098 yards, this par-72
track is best described by its creator,
who labels it, "Explosive by nature
and stunning by design." No
argument here. FireRock boasts nearly
100 acres of two-metre tall prairie and
Savannah grasses that dominate the
course with environmentally-protected
wildflowers, herbs and shrubs. It’s
Monet meets McBroom – a painting come
alive, framed by natural grasses and
trees, captivating land forms and ragged
handmade bunkers, flowing over
pastureland and across the valley.
FireRock’s fairways offer a generous
number of safe landing areas, they can
seduce you into choosing poor shot
selections, thanks to a myriad of
elevation changes. Once the large
undulating greens mature, they will be
dangerously quick. Add to the mix a
cornucopia of strategically placed water
hazards and bunkers, and you have the
stuff of which legends are made.
have dominated post-round discussions.
The 228-yard par-3 third hole is cut
through a canyon of old gravel spoils.
An errant tee shot, slightly downhill to
a bunkerless raised green sloping back
to front, will forever rest in peace.
Nasty fescue hills and primary rough as
coarse as cabbage make for a challenging
up and down. The hole’s handle is,
"A short but unforgettable journey
to Ireland," but it’s more like a
trip to hell.
hole at FireRock is stunningly beautiful
yet incredibly tough. Looking down into
the valley from the tee, golfers are
faced with a 443-yard par-4 finishing
hole. Hit long off the tee, and in the
tight fairway, and you have a chance to
get home in two over the Oxbow River.
However, the smart play is to lay up
before pitching onto a fast green with
false front and front left bunker, and
surrounded by mounds.
is both beauty and beast, but don’t
expect it to soften as it matures. No
matter what your score, you’ll bring
home memories of each hole.
tax, includes cart